We’re all selling something
All jobs are exploitative under capitalism, but that doesn’t mean porn deserves its stigma
Image courtesy of Charles Deluvio via Unsplash
Usually, about once a fortnight, I log in to my work twitter and I see tweets claiming that my job “isn’t real” and I’m “exploiting myself for money”. I’m sure that if most of you saw this you would be horrified, but I’m used to it now. It’s become normalised for me. I’ve seen it at least twice a month for the last two years.
During my degree, I have struggled for money — sometimes SAAS doesn’t quite go far enough when you have bills to pay — so I assessed my options and realised I could combine my passions into a job. That’s when I opened up Safari, typed in onlyfans.com and hit search. It’s been a long two years to get to where I am now. And yet still, sadly, despite the widely held belief, sex work isn’t “easy money”. I’ve worked really hard to get here, but my credibility is consistently undermined.
Sex work is a traditionally female dominated field — one of few throughout history — and as such it is constantly degraded and frowned upon, just like other “female” jobs like nurses or secretaries. But all these jobs, including mine, require hard work and resilience. I have a thriving presence on various social media platforms; I have built a brand from scratch; I can build and maintain a website; I can direct, take, edit, and model in photos and videos. I work an online, customer facing job speaking to and interacting with clients daily.
I grind at what I do. I work between 10 and 15 hours a day, constantly filming content, interacting with clients, editing photos and videos, promoting my business (yes, it is a business), and communicating with other sex workers to form business relations. And yes, before you ask, I pay my taxes.
I work just as hard as any other worker, but I’m criticised for “exploiting my body for money”. Is a builder not exploiting their body for money? Do they not use their body for someone else’s benefit? How about a doctor? Are they not being paid to use their body to treat other people and save lives?
All jobs under capitalism exploit workers in some sense. They all require someone to use their body, their mind, or their skills to achieve a goal for someone else’s gain. But they don’t get the criticism sex workers do. And I get why.
Sex workers are putting their most intimate parts out there for public consumption. That’s out of lots of people’s comfort zones. But how is it different from a lingerie model? We’re all selling something! Most of us in university have sent nudes at some point in our lives, I just charge for it now. Most of us watch porn or have watched it, I just make it now.
The stigma surrounding sex work exists because of centuries of patriarchal systems and misogyny, despite it being one of the most ancient jobs. The desire for sex and sexual consumption will always exist, and so will sex workers. It’s time to get off your high horse.
Supporting sex workers on sites like OnlyFans helps keep sex workers safe while ensuring that the porn you’re watching is consensual and legal. Stop preaching with one hand, while masturbating with the other.